“Intellectuals” in America around the 1920’s through the 1930’s somehow came to believe that capitalism was an inherently flawed economic system. Capitalism was thought to somehow constrain the economic well being of the populace and thereby to suppress freedom. The remedy to this imagined problem was viewed to be a greater amount of calculated government authority.
Entrepreneurship and Capitalism
This reformation of “intellectual” thought was consummated by contrasting the perceived economic reality of the time, with all of its inequity and deficiencies, with a totally imaginary state of affairs. In other words the real was compared with the unreal.
However, at the time of this writing in the spring of 2018 we now have almost an entire century of government intervention into business. It is no longer necessary to compare the real with the imagined. We can now compare the real with the actual.
In the 1920s and 1930s American “intellectuals” were hypothesizing about what they imagined to be the soon realized utopia of Russia. We can see clearly now that this imagined utopia never materialized. I can remember as a sixth grader in the 1950s hearing about the great Soviet Five Year Plan. Apparently we as Americans were to be in awe of this great Russian economic strategy. It simply never happened. Marx and Engels wrote in The Communist Manifesto, “The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win.”
Capitalism And What Makes It Work
There are several dynamics which enable capitalism to serve humanity well. The first is entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship presupposes the existence of free people functioning within a free market and a free society. Freedom creates a subsoil for creativity to flourish. With creativity comes new products and services (some of which people were not aware that they needed or wanted). In order for entrepreneurship to flourish, free people must be ruled by law.
The rule of law within a free society assures that contracts will be respected. The rule of law within a free country also paves the way for property rights and insures that the government cannot take what rightfully belongs to citizens. In order for capitalism to flourish there must also be free trade which is in effect fair trade. That is, there must be open access to markets and people all over the world without barriers, and in order for there to be free trade there must be the freedom for goods, services, people and ideas to move from one distant location to another.
Capitalism, Entrepreneurship and World Poverty
According to a recent study 84 percent of Americans are not aware of the tremendous strides that have been made against poverty world wide. Two thirds of people surveyed believe that hunger world wide has worsened. However, contrary to what most people have been led to believe, the percentage of people world wide living at starvation level poverty has fallen some 80 percent since 1970.
This has not been because of government redistribution, the policies of the World Bank, the actions of the United Nations, or the policies of the International Monetary Fund . . . it has been the result of entrepreneurs functioning within an environment of free market capitalism.
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